A significant effect on them willing to undergo

A report by the ‘American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery’ stated that there was an increase of 446% in cosmetic procedure since 1997 worldwide and an increase of 17% in men undertaking cosmetic surgery. Furnham and Levitas explore “factors that motivate people to undergo cosmetic surgery and identify the reasons for the increase in cosmetic procedures (Furnham and Levitas, 2012). The experiment was in the form of a questionnaire, assessing 204 British participants. The questionnaire assessed their view towards cosmetic surgery in relation to their life satisfaction, self-esteem, media consumption, religiosity and self-related physical attractiveness (ibid). With an increase in technology by 55% in 2017, Sarwer et al link this to the technological advances in cosmetic surgeries and an increase in the availability of plastic surgeons. (Sarwer et al., 2003). With such improvements, cosmetic surgeries are safer with fast recovery times, and a lower cost of procedures. Hence, people have become more willing to accept cosmetic surgery to alter their physical appearance (ibid). Markey and Markey further examine young women in America and their interest in undergoing cosmetic surgery. The noticed that “, body dissatisfaction, physical appearance, teasing (being teased about 11 different body parts) and media influence (feeling pressured to appear like people in the media)” were factors relating to the desire of wanting cosmetic surgery. (Markey and Markey, 2009). Similarly thought questionnaires, Sarwer et al highlight that individuals seek cosmetic surgery as a result of their low life satisfaction due to physical appearance. They further associate self-rated attractiveness with self-esteem (Markey and Markey, 2009). Hence, the higher one thinks of them as being attractive, the less likely they are to seek cosmetic surgery. To measure self-esteem, the ‘Rosenberg self-esteem scale’ was used. It consists of 10 items, which are rated on a “four-point scale (1-strongly disagree, 4 -strongly agree)” (Furnham and Levitas, 2012). The participant’s self-worth was measured using the scale. Life satisfaction was measured by asking the participants to what extent they agreed or disagreed with a different statement on a 5-point scale (ibid).  Lastly, Self-assessed attractiveness was measured using a questionnaire where participants had to rate their overall physical, facial and body appearance.Confirming the results of Brown et al, 66.1% of the participants showed that physical attractiveness did have a significant effect on them willing to undergo cosmetic surgery (Brown et al., 2007). The study further showed that there is a negative correlation between self-esteem and the likelihood of having a cosmetic surgery. People with a low-self esteem have shown the will to increase self-esteem by altering physical appearance. Individuals with low life satisfaction may suffer from depression, meaning that cognitive therapy, as opposed to cosmetic surgery, would be beneficial. Plastic surgeons nowadays have aimed to eliminate patients with unrealistic modifications, which could both be advantageous and may lead to further signs of depression in patients (ibid).Cosmetic surgery is also quite prevalent because of the social pressures put upon individuals to look ‘beautiful.’ Such pressures result in a social suffering of the individual. “Social suffering results from what political, economic, and institutional power does to people and, reciprocally, from how these forms of power themselves influence responses to social problems” (Guntars, 2017). Hence, the forms of power, in this case, may be the social media and how it influences people to fit the society’s view of beauty. An online survey conducted by RealSelf surveyed 527 of their website visitors, asking whether “social media influenced you to consider to have a cosmetic procedure” (Reiman, 2015)? Approximately 15.3% of the users answered: “yes” whereas, 33.40% said they were partially influenced by social media” (ibid). Another study in New York in from 1946 to 1954 collected data from 60 voluntary patients willing from a private practice.  The data collection was non-systematic and the interview was performed on patients willing to undergo rhinoplasty. Rhinoplasty is a plastic surgery to modify and remodel the shape of the nose (Free dictionary, n.d) Initially, the patients had consultations with the doctor and then with the interviewer. The consultations with the plastic surgeon were on the complaints about “deviated septum’s, functional impairments and nosebleeds” (Macgregor, 1967). However, once interviewed, the patients opened up about their lack of satisfaction with their noses and the reason for the rhinoplasty was because of them wanting to be more “appealing” to the society (ibid).In several cases, patients such as flight attendants came forward and justified that they were required to have an ‘ideal’ nose and specific looks for their jobs. What is prevalent in here is the political body, reinforcing individuals at jobs to have a specific look in order to please and increase the aesthetic of the brand for customers. The body politic may be described as “the regulation, surveillance, and control of bodies in reproduction, sexuality, work, leisure, sickness and other forms of deviance and human difference” (Scheper-Hughes & Lock, 1987:7). In the case of the interviewed patients, they are being controlled by an ideology that imposes beauty as a standardized subject, meaning females and males should look in a specific way or else they are limited to do their desired paths in the society. Thus, the individuals are in a state of social suffering where it “leads to an accusation of life and consequently to the responsibility of the sufferer (Guntars, 2017). Hence, this is ‘Internal orientation,’ where the patients blame their jobs in wanting to change their appearance and enhance their so-called ‘beauty.’ Another example of expectation in the society is the idea that men prefer women to look in a certain way, hence reinforcing attraction. The study by Frances C. Macgregor, with the use of interviews, showed that 49.4% of men expected women with a “small and straight nose” (Macgregor, 1967). In this case, women are objectified and are expected to have a rhinoplasty to reach the standards of most men. Therefore, beauty has several meanings and classifying a simple model would not relate to each individual. As a result, the limitations of this concept would be that someone’s ideology of beauty may not correspond with others and if there were one definition, it would enhance the social suffering. Lastly, beauty standards may change over time and keep up with the trends is another disadvantage. Therefore, individuals should not be a part of the ‘social norm’ and should not conform to the body politic but rather their own will. Aiming to be a part of the ‘social norm’ through cosmetic surgery has several issues to the mind and the body. Several studies have linked cosmetic surgery of the breasts in women with an increased rate of suicide. In the US, Brinton examined the risk of suicide in 13,000 women who had gone through breast augmentations (Sansone and Sansone, 2007). The examination period was 14 years and the women’s lives were closely examined. After 14 years, the standardized mortality rate (SMR) for suicide was approximately 1.54 (ibid). However, 5 years later, the women were examined again and the SMR had increased by about 0.09. The SMR may be defined as “the ratio of the observed mortality rate to the predicted mortality rate in the population” (ibid). Another example of a study was done by Koot. The study was on 3500 women from Sweden who had similarly undergone breast augmentation. Koot found that just like in Brinton’s study, there was an increased risk of suicide after breast augmentation with the SMR being 2.9 (ibid). It seems that it is not the silicon toxicity of the breasts but rather the psychological state of the women that leads to suicide. Loren Lipworth, a cosmetic surgery specialist, suggests that women who do commit suicide are due to the psychiatric illness before the women undergo breast augmentation (ibid). This type of illness may be caused as a result of the body politic and the social pressure imposed in workplaces and socially to look a certain way. Hence, after surgery, the dissatisfaction of the breasts or non-exceeded expectations is what may have increased the death rate by such a high percentage. The disadvantage of the body politic is that many cannot relate or compare to the social ideals, and as a result, it disconnects the person from the reality and may cause various mental illnesses such as depression and suicide. However, the body politic sets a sense of equilibrium to create a standard for the population. Yet, beauty should not be a standardized subject and people should be able to have a choice in the way they look without being jeopardized. With cosmetic surgery being available at a cheap price and with improved technology, it would be expected that people who are unhappy with their physical appearance would be able to alter the way they look. Similarly, with changing ideologies of the ‘perfect body,’ many people, especially women decide to mold into the society’s expectations and become what is seen as the ‘norm.’ The social pressure created by the body politic is what increases the number of cosmetic surgeries taken place yearly. As a result of the social pressure in jobs and the society, individuals go through social suffering, where they blame their surroundings for deciding to undertake cosmetic surgery. The disconnection between the reality and expectation is what leads cosmetic surgeries to create high suicide rates. Yet it is the social pressure that increases cosmetic modifications. For further researches, examining how addiction to cosmetic surgery as a result of the social expectation and Korean cultural values of requiring cosmetic alterations may increase the understanding to why cosmetic surgery is so common worldwide.


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